Conversely, in the lead-up to the game, interim Coach Mark Samford stressed good pitch selection at the plate and that if his Falcons (20-7) played to their abilities, they would prevail against the Knights (12-11-1). In the end, neither seemed to occur.
"If I had to say, that's been the big issue this year when we struggle," said Samford of swinging at bad balls. "If we made plays that we're capable of making, I think this game turns around."
To Notre Dame's credit, though, it came out on a tear, rudely greeting Falcons hurler Olivia Thayer to the tune of three consecutive hits, including a pair of doubles, and the score was quickly 2-0 before two errors on one play led to a 3-0 score and allowed a groundout to shortstop to up the lead to 4-0.
"The damage was done," Samford said.
Though it was only the bottom of the first, the Falcons likely needed a quick answer, but instead went down 1-2-3, despite all three hitters seeing three-ball counts and appearing to have swung at balls out of the zone to lead to all three outs.
"I'd like to have a dollar for every time I've stressed that," said Samford of being patient at the plate.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, the 4-0 hole might very well have been a factor at the plate, as well.
"I think everyone was just so eager to come back," said junior Brady Sanford. "We started swinging at pitches that weren't necessarily strikes."
Overshadowed in the wild-card defeat was a stellar game by Sanford, the diminutive No. 9 hitter who had a hand in all four of her team's runs, going three for three with three runs batted in and a run scored.